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Lesson learnt from interracial same-sex relationship

LGBTQ

Lesson learnt from interracial same-sex relationship

While we assume the world has become more open-minded toward interracial relationships, the racial tension in Ferguson seems to be reminding us that the issue of race is more complicated than we thought. Being in a same-sex relationship has not been easy in this hetero-dominant world, let alone complicate things further when looking at it from a racial perspective. As a gay man who is currently in a long-distance, interracial same-sex relationship, I have learned to sustain my relationship in a hard way. I’ve been glared at when I walked down Walnut Street in Center City Philadelphia with my African-American partner, and there were even incidents when a homeless lady cursed at our presence as we walked by. I have come to realize that learning how to handle disrespectful glares and curses is part of the lessons that come with an interracial same-sex relationship.

Like most people, my interracial relationship kicks off with love at first sight when we met at a friend’s wedding. Then things developed so smoothly that I never thought about the sensitive fact of being in an interracial relationship. I only became conscious about it when my mom reacted dramatically after learning about my romance with an African-American partner. Her reaction simply reflects the prejudice and misunderstanding that has long been attached to racial issues, while representing the fundamental challenges interracial relationship often face. I began to notice the number of times when people showed signs of disagreement with regard to my interracial same-sex relationship. Their first reactions upon learning that I am dating an African-American man were shock, followed by moments of silence. Rarely have I received immediate positive responses from many of my friends.

Soon after the honeymoon period, doubts started to creep into my head as I continued to feel judged by others. Thoughts of giving in to the social pressure was incubating and tensions between me and my boyfriend began to stem from our serious discussions about interracial relationships. While he made it clear that he would never give up what we’ve earned so easily, I showed signs of being skeptical about our “future.” As that sense of uncertainty grew stronger with my withering will to defend our relationship, I started to intentionally avoid direct contact with my boyfriend. For weeks, I denied all his attempts to get a hold on me, while struggling to determine whether an interracial relationship was right for me. I not only blamed myself for failing to uphold my personal goal of remaining racially neutral, but also had difficulty justifying the way I handled this extra-delicate situation.

After being haunted by the confusion and growing sense of guilt toward my interracial relationship, I reached out to my boyfriend, hoping to work things out. To my surprise, he didn’t hesitate to welcome me back to his life with a big hug. While giving me time to explain what was previously going through my mind, he never failed to remind me of the amount of love, dedication and time that he is willing to devote to our interracial relationship. I finally understand that like other forms of relationships, interracial relationship is built upon mutual trust, love, and dedication. It only becomes more complicated when people choose to judge it from the racial perspective, which often times, can push things to the extreme. As one of the agents of this growing trend, I should never let racial issues get in the way of the pure creation of love and dedication between me and my boyfriend. It is only when I can comfortably recognize the fact that I am in a interracial relationship, should I regard myself as racially neutral. The element of race is a mere superficial difference in an interracial relationship and at the end of the day, the core of interracial relationship still belongs to the degree of mutual commitment from both parties.

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William

William is a freelance writer and photographer based in Taiwan, with tremendous passion for human rights and storytelling. He holds a Master of Journalism degree from Temple University, and has extensive experiences interning at global NGOs such as Human Rights Watch and Mercy Corps. He is currently teaching English at a mountainous elementary school in Hsinchu as his substitute military service, while still trying to find writing opportunities whenever he can. Contact William via email at wy30611@gmail.com

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